6 Ways To Save Money With A Baby On Board

We all know that having a baby in your life can be expensive (it is a whole new person after all). So, do you really need everything “they” say you need? What can be cut and how do you find some financial sanity when your whole world is getting rocked? Since Aaron and I don’t have a little one in our lives yet I love getting the inside scoop from people who do.

Today, Heidi from Portland Babylon is sharing her top 6 tips on how she and her husband made their new life with a baby as frugal as possible.

“I’ve always considered myself a frugal person. I began working at a young age, in junior high, for my CPA father. I think that helped foster a strong work ethic. I also found that money provided independence and security, so saving money was always really important to me.

However, the old adage of ‘the more you make, the more you spend’ does seem to hold true.

In the past few years my husband and I have made more money, and we’ve spent more as a result. We seemed to be able to save a lot more money when we made less.

In the past year a lot has happened, and our savings have dwindled. Most importantly, last September our son (Hank) was born. He’s our first and only child. Another old adage rings true here: ‘Having kids changes your life’. Boy does it.

We had a lot of financial burdens last year, plus we both work full-time and knew we had day-care costs in the $1,000 per month range staring us in the face. So, we knew we had to buckle down and try to make having a baby as economical as possible.

Here are a few things that have allowed us to not totally scrimp on our one and only child, but also be able to start saving some money again.

Saving Money With A New Baby In Your Life:

image courtesy of heidi. that hand-painted mural is really amazing! such talent!

1. Tap into your artistic skills (or your friend’s artistic skills)

Decorating a nursery can be really expensive. My husband (who luckily for us is an amazing artist) painted Richard Scarry murals on Hank’s walls. This saved us a lot of money, and of course made his room one of a kind. If you’re a little less adventurous there are a lot of stencils that could be used to create something really special (and cheap!).

2. Go with vintage or used furniture

We bought as much vintage furniture as possible his room, except for his crib. We bought a dresser, bookcase and an adorable wall unit all at local vintage stores, stripped them down and repainted them. We already had a rocking chair, and just had to repaint it. Not only were these pieces a lot cheaper than new, they were made better in those days and they have a much more unique look to them.

3. Get crafty

Even with my limited sewing skills I was able to create curtains for the nursery using Little Golden Book fabric. It matchs the mural and they weren’t as hard to make as I would have guessed.

4. Be okay with used clothes and hand-me-downs and spread the word to friends that you’d love their previously used items

Apparently, some people don’t want used clothes for their baby. Not us! My boss was nice enough to give us her two boys’ clothes, which really helped. We also continue to get clothes from a friend’s boy who is a few months older.

5. Use Craigslist and garage sales for the baby supplies

We bought quite a few things used at local re-sale stores and through Craigslist. I never knew you needed so much for a baby! We got a lot at our baby shower, but after he was born we realized how much more we could still use. We got some great deals on things like a bathtub, Boppy pillow, books, a Baby Bjorn carrier, blankets, and clothes. We even bought cloth diapering supplies and a huge quantity of baby formula from local sellers. The formula was an insanely good deal, and ended up getting us through a few months for dirt cheap.

6. Pick cloth diapers

Between birth to potty-training diapers can cost thousands of dollars so choosing to cloth diaper Hank was a pretty easy decision. Since it seems to be a trend here in Portland and since most of our friends do cloth diapering too, it made the decision a no-brainer. I felt like the biggest barrier to cloth diapering was having too much information available, which really confused me. Once I figured out what I needed the rest was easy – even the laundry’s not that bad (especially with an awesome husband). The initial set-up for the cloth diapers was a few hundred dollars but we’ll end up saving so much in the long-run since we decided to not go with disposables. Plus, being able to re-use the diapers means so much less garbage and waste!”

Thanks Heidi!


Do you have a little one in your life? How do you save money? What are your biggest tips?

Would you like to be a contributor on a topic related to personal finance or frugal living? Send me an email at: hello@andthenwesaved.com. (Please know that credit or lending companies will not be considered. Only real people with real stories and real experiences should email.)


8 thoughts on “6 Ways To Save Money With A Baby On Board

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  1. courtney

    Those are all really good tips. A great way to find clothes is to shop consignment sales or to buy clothes a year in advance so you can just shop the clearance sales (just don't forget to organize the clothes so you don't forget something you've bought by the time it fits). I also made all my daughter's baby food. It's healthier and way cheaper. If you just gradually build them up to the food you eat, then you never have to buy all that pre-packaged baby food and meals– plus that's healthier for them anyway.
    One thing that's important to buy new is a car seat though– just wanted to throw that out there. The plastic's integrity is compromised after 5 years as well as if the seat has been in an accident. You can't guarantee the safety of the seat if it's not new (unless you get it from a trusted friend or family member).

  2. Anna Newell Jones

    Courtney, thanks for pointing that out about not going with a used cat seat to save money. There's no way that compromising safety would make up for saving a few (or more) bucks.

  3. Landi

    Hi, we had our baby 9 months ago (wow does time fly!), and here are the tips we've come up with:

    (1) babies don't need nurseries — we live in a little one bedroom apartment, so no room for a nursery. Baby doesn't seem to mind at all! And I love having my baby close enough to touch.

    (2) cloth diapers — already mentioned but worth mentioning twice. We went with prefolds and covers, which is probably the cheapest way to go, and love it. Cheap, but also leak less than our few experiences with disposables during the hurricaine. Laundry isn't nearly as hard as people would lead you to think. Just throw them in the washer. It works for most people without anything special.

    (3) breastfeeding — far, far cheaper than formula, even if you have to spring for a lactation consultant to get you through the early weeks, which can be difficult for some moms. Go to a breastfeeding support group; even if you aren't the "group type", it's really helpful. Also, if your baby is sick less, as they likely will be if you breastfeed, you'll spend less time and money on sick kid care.

    (4) make your own baby food! It's fun, and cheaper than buying the store-bought stuff. You can freeze your purees in an ice cube tray to make baby food cubes, so it's ready to thaw and use when you need it.

    (5) grind out the numbers before committing to childcare, especially if either of you don't particularly like your job. You may find it cheaper to have one of you stay at home until baby is older.

  4. Rich

    We have twins boys. When they were younger (birth-about 3 years) we were involved with a local multiples club. Every year they held a very large sale where members could buy and sell ued children's items (e.g., clothes, toys, etc.) It turns out that most parents of mutiples groups hold similar sales. They are a great place to get used items for the wee ones. Also a great place to sell used items and make some extra cash.. Our group used to let non-members sell things for a small fee.

    one caveat. this was better when the kid were younger. They wore out their clothes less, and didn't have a clue that the toys were used. Now that they are 7 (and their younger brother 5), they are a little more savy about new (meaning the "latest" and what their friends have) toys and games. However, we still do buy used items from Goodwill, particularly sports equipment. Kids grow so fast that things like baseball mitts and skates don't have much time to get too abused.

    Final tip: if you shop at Gymboree, make sure to make use of Gymbucks. They add up and save a lot of money.

  5. Tin

    Great article and so fate that you reposted (retweeted) today. I am a few months away from baby number 3! Even though I have two others, they are spread apart in age and I have given away everything we previously had. to save money, I’ve been making my own items for baby, plus being really selective on what items we need, can repurpose, and can reuse.

    Love hearing ideas from others!



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